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Old 01-20-2021, 10:11 AM's Avatar is offline
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Texas
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Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
Given my application is solo instrumental fingerstyle acoustic, what has been frustrating in searching out advice on learning about applying compression (and understanding compression parameters) is that most of what I find is in the context of making the guitar sit properly in a mix with other instruments and/or a vocalist. One of the articles that made some sense to me was looking at compression where a solo instrumental player is using percussive techniques as the percussion can create transients that benefit from compression to smooth out the recording.

I’ve got a “heavy” thumb that I am always trying to tame and perhaps compression could be used to smooth it out in the mix rather than EQ’ing?
Yes, a lot of compression has to do with making things fit in a mix, or "gluing" the mix together.

You can use it to fix things, too, though be careful. I briefly used a compressor with my electric playing but quickly decided it was making me lazy about some technique. Now, there are styles where it's practically required (e.g. "chicken pickin'), but as a matter of course, it's best reserved in solo playing for those things that just stick out a bit much, and not worth a retake or punch-in may not be worth the trouble (or possible).

Something like that is probably where I'd either use a side chain filter or dynamic EQ, possibly with automation. (Feels like this was discussed recently here.) I.e., you only want the EQ to be applied when it occurs on notes of a certain (excess) dynamic, and so you can set up an EQ and just automate it on/off in those parts, or if there are a lot, use a compressor, but filter it for the EQ range where your thumb is causing problems, adjusting threshold to just hit the dynamic you wnat squashed a bit, or, employ one of those newer, dynamic EQ plugins (which are kind of EQ filtered compressors in an EQ kind of UI wrapper, IMO).

You may not want any "makeup gain" if you are using the compressor to strictly target a few notes/frequencies, at least not in the filtered compressor/dynamic EQ scenario.
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